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The Wedding Reception Party of my niece Thatcher and new nephew Alexis is one of the coolest parties I’ve attended this year.  And in this gathering held at the Marriott Hotel Manila, I was given the task by the couple to render a speech (me being the representative of the family of the bride).

Before you read my speech here’s the cool pre-nup video of the couple…

Here’s what I said during the grand celebration of love…

Hi! I am Neil and I am one of the loving uncles of Thatcher, tonight’s lovely Bride.

Like what everyone knows, it is unfortunate that Thatcher’s dad (my brother) passed away when she was still a little girl.  I’m pretty sure that my Kuya Iko, Thatch’s dad, would be so happy now that she has grown up to be a fine woman and has finally tied a knot with a gentleman.  Kuya Iko must be smiling and watching up there in Heaven.

Thatcher grew up with her brother Denden who acted as her father figure.  It was always her Kuya Denden and at times Ate Erika whom she can count on.  Kuya Denden and Ate Erika are Thatcher’s significant human beings that made Thatcher the way she is today.  While I, along with my elder brothers Wreigh & Bogis and Ate Raquel’s elder brothers: Larry, Dennis & Nelson were her warriors if need be. 

One of the most touching deed that Thatcher has done to me is a note she composed a couple of years back.  The note was part of a gift she gave me that Christmas.  I was touched when I read that note for it indicates how appreciated my being an uncle to her.  That note was one of the best gifts I received that Christmas and up to this day that note is kept in my treasure file.

The first time I met Alexis was in Japan.  Prior to meeting him, I have heard a lot about him from the stories of my Nanay Nengkoy, nieces Erika, KrisMae and Mica and nephews Denden, Luis and Miggy.  One big conclusion was derived from their stories, Alexis is a rich kid who does not seem to know anything about household chores.  Because of this pre-conceived idea, simple tests and challenges were concocted for Alexis during our family’s vacation in Osaka.  These challenges were simple household chores that Alexis needs to undertake, i.e. from fixing the bed, to taking the garbage out, to even washing the soiled dishes. 

At the end of that vacation, my family all agreed that Alexis passed these simple challenges.  Though not with flying colors at least Alexis did his very best to get along with a crazy family like ours.  He even passed the test of eating his vegetables as insisted and enforced by his Ninang Gaying.  In my own personal analysis, the most impressive trait of Alexis is his being respectful.  During our first meeting, he automatically addressed me as Tito Neil.

To you Thatcher & Alexis, now that you are married, let me correlate my unsolicited advice with that of your recent pre-nup video.  Your prenup video was shot in Enchanted Kingdom, a theme park with various rides and attractions.  Please be advised that life indeed is like a roller coaster ride.  At times it may be like a happy ferris wheel or a nerve wrecking space shuttle ride.  There would be moments that life’s challenges may seem to be like a trip inside a horror house.  But you should always remember that no matter how hard and difficult trials may be, never stop falling in love with each other.  I’m pretty sure that life will simply be a breeze when you’re together like that of a gentle ride on a Merry Go Round. I hope that you stay together forever and live an enchanted-kingdom-like life ahead!  Congratulations and cheers to Thatcher & Alexis!

Alexis+Thatcher

Best Wishes…

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Canadians must be very pleased and delighted with their Prime Minister.  As seen in the news, Justin Trudeau with his family joined (for the 2nd year in a row) the march and walked the streets of Toronto to celebrate Pride Month causing the internet to swoon over such a cool world leader.

cool Canadian PM (photo from the news)

Canada has indeed gone so far ahead as compared to my country in terms of respecting sexual diversity, equal rights and self-affirmation.  It is sad to note that the present President of the Philippines (my president) – dubbed as the Punisher by Times Magazine and known around the globe as an iron-fisted ruler – joining a Pride march and the rainbow procession on the streets of Manila or Marikina seem very unlikely.

Watching the news about Canada makes me drool… Happy Pride!

Happy Pride!

‘Di ko ma-imadyin!

 

I can no longer count the number of times I clicked the symbol in Instagram account of mikeybot.  It is because this account features the cutest kid in the solar system!  And every time my mobile phone is notified about a new YouTube video on HiHo Kids channel, I would get so excited hoping Ernie would be part of the new feature.

 

From among the cute HiHo Kids channels, here’s my personal favorite video of Ernie.  It’s unadulterated-ly cute, funny and heart-melting…

Watching the infectious smile, the wondrous cackle, the playful tease and even the frivolous nose picking of Ernie makes me miss the feelings on what it is to be a simple happy kid.  I guess I will never get tired clicking the  symbol in mikeybot’s Instagram page.

Aym hukd wid #superernie!

The songs and music of Dear Evan Hansen (the musical) is giving me reasons to want to fly and spend another beautiful adventure in the city of New York.  And while I try to find a window on y very busy schedules on the possibility of flying to NYC, I let myself be satisfied on playing and replaying the musical’s soundtracks in my Spotify account.

And when I saw this performance in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it further my wanting to fly to NYC.  This I guess is the best performance that this song can possibly be sang!  From the faultless singing to infectious involuntary facial twitches and from the impeccable lyrics to the seamless exhibited raw emotion, his rendition in this video can simply be spelled as P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

I will really be upset in case Ben Platt, nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, will not be awarded the Tony this year!

Kaiyak… Perpek!

There will come a point in our lives that we would fall in love with a song in which the lyrics are written in a foreign language not familiar to us.  I have been feeling this for the past weeks.  I have fallen in love not with one but with three songs.  And what is so consistent with these songs is that these are all sang in Portuguese language.

There must be something special in the Portuguese language when sung.  I don’t understand a single word of Portuguese but the emotion and sentiment of this language evokes something special.  It’s romantic, it’s amorous, it’s passionate!

The expressive phonology, the sensual structure of words, the voluptuous syntaxes and the almost nostalgic vowels accentuates the feelings of passion and romance.  Apaixono, cafune and saudade are examples of quixotic-ly structured kind of Portuguese words!  People say that the unrestrictive airflow of spoken Portuguese words makes it ideal for singing songs of love and longing.  Maybe these are the reasons why I easily fell in love with the following songs…

  • My nephew Luis was dancing to this tune the first time he heard it.  Efemera by Tulipa

  • I first heard this song in a superb Brazilian movie. Vagalumes Cegos by Cicero

  • The 2017 Eurovision winner from Portugal. Amar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral

These are the only foreign language songs in my Spotify playlist.  Some say its French, others say its Spanish, but for me Portuguese is the sexiest and most romantic language on the planet. Obrigado!

Bakit kasi walang letrang X sa wikang Pinoy? Ayan tuloy di tayo kaseksihan.

Guests entering a restaurant three minutes before it closes is technically okay.  But this situation is one of the most hated circumstances by that of the waiters and cooks.  This is especially true when the kitchen has started to do its cleaning and sanitizing.  Cooks would not have the choice but to gloomily re-grease their pots, pans and griddle and degrease it again later on when all orders of the oblivious close-to-being-late customer has been dispatched.

This is exactly what I did!  And in the above scenario, I was the customer.  Since it’s almost closing time, I expected that my orders would be nothing spectacular.  I was actually expecting the food to be unmeticulous, negligent and haphazard.

But all my worrying expectations were all false!  I was served, what could be considered one of the best gourmet burgers in Manila!  Congratulations to Hunger Buster.  This burger joint located at the 2nd floor of University Mall in Taft Avenue gave me what I never expected.

yum!

It was so delicious, I wanted to drag other folks dining at a nearby restaurant and tell them “what the hell are you doing in that measly resto when an awesome gourmet burger joint in Manila is just under your freakin’ nose!?

It was the type of burger that I love.  Hunger Buster provides disposable plastic hand gloves because their burger is a gloriously messy creation.  All elements I wanted for a burger was there: tender and flavorful meat, crispy bits of savory bacon, provocatively dripping greasy juices and gooey cheese!  And despite the dripping juices, the soft and tasty bun never turned sad and soggy.  For me it was one surprising burger!

I will definitely be back at Hunger Buster and on that time, I will step in 2 minutes before it closes! Hahaha!

An-ekspekted and sarap!

I joined PAL’s Mabuhay Miles Mother’s Day Promo.  Mechanics says that participant needs to post a photo with his/her mom in any memorable Philippine Airlines destination.  Chosen entry will win 10,000 mile-points and an overnight stay for 2 at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.

Though it looks like me and Nengkoy is not going to win because I saw the other entries and theirs were so stunning and beautiful, I enjoyed joining.  It’s a way I suppose of expressing how fun to be with her and that I am proud of Nengkoy!  This is my entry…

winning entry! hahaha!

happy mother’s day to all

I actually don’t need to win because having Nengkoy, my Mudra, in my life is the ultimate reward! Happy Mother’s Day Nengkoy!

At sa inyo din, hapi mudra day!

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.